Amazon rolled out CloudSearch Thursday, a beta service for cloud computing and app developers that capitalizes on its core technology. The tool, a "search service in the cloud," supports scaling for data and search traffic.
A post on the company's Web Services Blog explains how it makes the need to write indexing, query parsing, query processing, and results handling obsolete. It's the same underlying technology running Amazon.com, according to Jeff Barr, Amazon's Web services evangelist.
Barr tell us the technology processes queries in less than an hour at a service cost to the Web site owner or developer of less than $100 monthly.
At least a handful of Amazon Web services clients are testing the technology. SmugMug, which supports cloud services for photographers, is using CloudSearch on their Web site for more than a billion photos. Ex.fm continues to test the platform to power its social music Web site, and CarDomain, its social network for car lovers.
The three-step process begins with creating and configuring a search domain, moves to uploading documents, and ends with performing searches. There are a few technical steps in between, but Barr explains that Amazon made it simple to help developers build out services. The index is stored in RAM to keep throughput high and speed document updates, he writes.
Barr also lists several advanced search features like faceting, allowing developers to categorize results into subgroups -- as well as fielded, which gives the ability to search on a particular attribute of a document.
When search traffic expands beyond the capacity of a single instance, CloudSearch will automatically add instances and replicate the data to the new instance. If you have a lot of data and a high request rate, the platform will automatically scale in both dimensions, according to Barr.
Those who want to build their own search engine can find a free class online at Udacity, founded by three roboticists who believed much of the educational value of their university classes could be offered online for a low cost. The instructors believe the class will teach even those without programming background the ability to build their own search engine in seven weeks.